Christmas Countdown | 19 | Gluten Free Afternoon Tea

Gluten free afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel, London
My Aunt, Mum and Sister enjoying afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel in London.

Earlier this month, I said I would report back on the gluten free afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel in London. My Mum, Sister and Aunt like to meet up in London now and then for a day out and a catch up.

I’ve never suggested afternoon tea before, although I’ve been with friends several times, as my Mum is gluten free and I’ve always assumed that it wouldn’t be worth it for her. After all, the main part of afternoon tea is sandwiches, cake and scones!

I was convinced to give it a go after chatting to the maître d’ at the English Tea Room and I’m so glad I did. The bread used for the gluten free tea was indistinguishable from the normal bread. I have no idea how that’s even possible!

The gluten free scones were excellent too. And as far as I could see, the only difference between the gluten free cakes and the normal cakes was the lack of choux, which is totally understandable.

On top of all of that, you get charming service and a live pianist. We’ll definitely be back.

This month, I’m again attempting to blog every day to turn this corner of the internet into a sort of advent calendar. Posts will be tagged ChristmasCountdown2015 or you can look at the calendar in the sidebar ⇒


Christmas Countdown | 8 | A day out in the capital

Southgate Christmas Tree

Isn’t it funny how we take the same photos, year after year, of the same tree, with the same decorations, in the same place? The only thing that changes is us!

I’m off to London today for a festive day out with my Mum, Sister and Aunt. We’re going to see the Christmas lights, go shopping at Liberty and have afternoon tea at Brown’s hotel. Can’t wait!

I’ll report back on whether the gluten free afternoon tea meets with Mum’s approval!

This month, I’m again attempting to blog every day to turn this corner of the internet into a sort of advent calendar. Posts will be tagged ChristmasCountdown2015 or you can look at the calendar in the sidebar ⇒

“Fashion on the Ration”

“A decline in clothing standards may be accompanied by a decline in self respect and a consequent slackness of the mind.”

– Memo from the Women’s Group on Public Welfare regarding the Make [Do] and Mend campaign, as displayed at the Imperial War Museum London ‘Fashion on the Ration’ exhibition, which is on till the end of the month. I visited earlier this week with my Mum – a rare chance to get away.

December Seventh – figureheads, Nelson and the quest for longitude

Figureheads at the National Maritime Museum
Figureheads at the National Maritime Museum

This weekend we were in Greenwich to visit the National Maritime Museum. The main purpose was to visit the exhibition “Ships, Clocks & Stars: the Quest for Longitude” (on until 4 January 2015).

The question if how to measure longitude at sea – and thus navigate accurately and safely – was so important that in the early 18th century that the government created the Board of Longitude to consider solutions. Prizes were to be awarded for the discovery and demonstration of a practical method for determining the longitude of a ship at sea*.

Many solutions were proposed and the exhibition explains each one and how the problem eventually came to be solved. There are plenty of interactive and audio-visual elements to keep things interesting, as well as original artefacts including the first chronometers. I don’t think it would be suitable for young children as some of the explanations are quite technical. Also, watch where you walk in the first, quite dark, room – T fell over one of the plinths in the gloom.

The death of Nelson, AW Devis (detail)
The death of Nelson, AW Devis (detail)

We also visited the “Nelson, Navy, Nation” permanent exhibition, which puts the story of the Battle of Trafalgar into historical context, showing how celebrated and how much a part of national identity the Navy was in the 18th century. The exhibition includes such gruesome relics as Nelson’s uniform from Trafalgar – with the hole from the bullet that killed him – and ship’s surgeon’s tools. Again, it is all presented in a very accessible and modern way.

HMS Implacable figurehead
HMS Implacable figurehead


*from Wikipedia

A wedding at the Tower

Tower of LondonWe were in London again this weekend for a wedding blessing.

The friends in question are extremely adventurous. Their wedding took place on a gondola which links two mountains in Whistler, Canada. For their wedding blessing back in the UK they went for an equally unusual venue – the Tower of London!

The blessing took place in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula and the reception in the Fusiliers’ Museum. Amazing! I particularly loved when they came out and all the tourists started taking pictures. We were allowed to stay after hours for the reception; how many people get to see this courtyard (above) deserted I wonder?

I wanted to post this photo yesterday but I was too tired and emotional!


Village EastTo Bermondsey for a night out with the girls to celebrate R’s birthday. We had dinner at Village East – a stylish, buzzy, narrow, vintagey bar and restaurant. I had stone bass and grilled waldorf salad and a margarita instead of dessert. We ended up back at R’s flat with fizzy wine and dancing around the living room. Somehow, we didn’t get to bed till 5 a.m. It’s been a VERY long time since I stayed up so late!